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SSE plc Lifts Interim Dividend By 3.2% To Yield 6%

Shares in SSE (LSE: SSE) (NASDAQOTH: SSEZY.US) lifted by around 20p, or just over 1%, to 1,405p in early trade this morning, following results for the six months to 30 September 2013.

Despite adjusted pre-tax profit slipping by 11.7% to £354m and adjusted earnings per share falling 17.4% to 29.4p, the group decided to increase its interim dividend by 3.2% to 26p per share, putting it on course for a yield of 6%.

Management confirmed that it remains committed to delivering “a full year dividend increase for 2013/14 that is greater than RPI inflation and to deliver above-RPI inflation dividend increases in the years after that”.

SSE’s retail operations made an operating loss of £89.4m in the six-month period, with chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin commenting:

“Energy market conditions generally have been difficult for some time. SSE’s balanced model of market-based and economically-regulated businesses means the company is in a good position to perform well even in testing environments such as this, and at times of greater uncertainty, SSE’s commitment to operational and financial discipline is particularly important. In practice, that means helping Retail customers mitigate the impact of the increase in unit electricity and gas prices we unfortunately had to announce last month and also maintaining reliable supplies of electricity for our Networks customers through the winter months.”

Energy companies have stolen headlines in recent weeks after a widespread hike in tariff prices due to the rising cost of gas as well as social and environmental policies; SSE announced an 8.2% increase of its average energy tariffs from 15 November.

However, following Npower and EDF’s remarks on Tuesday, today SSE has told the BBC that if the UK government cuts green levies, “we will adjust our bills accordingly”.

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> Sam does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.